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Automobile Service Co Automotive Tips: Axles

The axle assemblies in your vehicle transfer power out to the drive wheels.  On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, there is an axle shaft that goes from the differential in the center of the axle to each rear wheel.  On a front-wheel drive vehicle, the axle shafts go from the transmission to each front-wheel.  All-wheel drive vehicles have axle shafts connected to all four wheels.  Axles assemblies are tough parts: they transfer torque from the engine to the wheels to move the vehicle.  Tough as they are, they are still subject to normal wear and tear.  The axle shafts are in a sealed housing with lubricant that protects the axle shaft.  When there is a leak anywhere in the axle assembly, lubricant gets out and dirt, water, and other contaminates can get in.  This can greatly accelerate axle wear.  If an axle assembly fails, you’re not going anywhere. A worn or damaged axle assembly on the front will make a clunking sound during low speed t ... read more

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Axles

PCV Valve Replacement at Automobile Service Co in St Louis Park

The PCV valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a big job for St Louis Park and our environment here in MN. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the engine's running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase. These hot gases are about 70 percent unburned fuel. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause engine corrosion. At high speeds, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won't work well. That can lead to oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and reduced fuel economy. Fortunately, it's very easy to test the PCV valve, and it's quick and inexpensive ... read more

Viva la Differential

With front-wheel drive being so common these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service at Automobile Service Co, so most St Louis Park drivers don't even have to think about it. And most rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for many miles or kilometers, so it's understandable that it's not something on the minds of St Louis Park drivers. So it's not uncommon for people in St Louis Park to not know they have a differential, let alone know that it needs service. To better understand what a differential does, think about a high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to r ... read more

That Sinking Feeling (Suspension Failure)

There's nothing quite like the feeling of driving down the road and, suddenly, the back end of your vehicle collapses. A possible cause is that something in your suspension has broken.  Suspension components gradually wear out – you may not even notice the ride and handling slowly getting worse.  But a sudden failure is unnerving and will often leave you unable to drive your vehicle. A broken spring can cause your suspension to drop suddenly.  There are different types of springs, including coil springs, leaf springs, and air springs.  Most vehicles these days use coil springs, and they look just like you think they'd look: a coiled-up metal spring like what you'd find if you took apart a ballpoint pen.  Coil springs fail from rust (thanks, brine and road salt), trauma (think potholes, speed bumps, curbs) and just plain metal fatigue.  Leaf springs are often used in larger vehicles such as trucks and large SUVs.  The design has bee ... read more

Simple Answers from Automobile Service Co for St Louis Park: Wheel Bearings

Question: I remember my dad having the shop “pack the bearings” on the family car. Is this something I need to have done? Automobile Service Co Answer: That's a really good question. At one time, all wheel bearings were “serviceable” and needed to be taken care of from time to time. It's a little trickier these days. First off, the wheel bearings in your vehicle make sure your wheels rotate smoothly. As you can imagine, with all those revolutions per minute your wheels can generate a lot of heat. The bearings keep that heat down as much as possible. They're packed in grease for lubrication. The term “packing the bearings” refers to putting fresh grease around the bearings. On many modern vehicles, the wheel bearing assembly is sealed. These wheel bearings are not serviceable so there is no maintenance that ca ... read more

Water Pump

Let's talk water pumps for autos in St Louis Park, MN. The engine is cooled by coolant/antifreeze mixed with water. This mixture circulates around the engine, absorbing some of the heat. The coolant then flows through the radiator where air cools it down for the return trip back through the engine. Your vehicle's water pump is what drives this process. Cooling system problems are the number-one mechanical failure in St Louis Park. So the water pump plays a pretty important role. You can't get very far in MN without a water pump. After all that distant and years of pumping coolant, water pumps just wear out. You might notice a whining or grinding sound coming from the water pump. Or maybe see coolant leaking from the pump itself. The precise location of the water pump varies depending on the vehicle. Some have the water pump attached to the outside of the engine where you can see it. With these, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt. Some have the water pu ... read more

Used Vehicle Inspection

It’s always exciting to get a new car – even when it’s used. But it can feel like you’re going out on a limb a bit when you buy a used vehicle. I mean, people sell vehicles for a lot of reasons. Maybe they just wanted a new car, maybe there was something wrong with it, and maybe there was something really wrong with it. It’s a great idea to order a report from a vehicle history service. This can uncover title problems and may reveal serious accidents or flood damage as well as any recall notices for the vehicle. Maintenance and repair records are a plus, but most sellers don’t have them. Of course the best thing is to get a professional to perform a used vehicle inspection. The inspection will go much deeper than just how good the vehicle looks and drives. You’ll get a feel for the vehicle’s overall condition, the status of major safety systems and an indication of how well it has been maintained. You’ll ... read more

Serpentine Belt

Your serpentine belt is powered by the engine as it turns. Your alternator, air conditioning compressor and power steering pump depend on your serpentine belt to run. On some vehicles it also runs the water pump, radiator fan and power brakes. If your serpentine belt breaks, your battery won't last long. If it runs your fan or water pump, your engine could overheat before your battery dies. Steering and braking would also be affected. Hopefully, we've made a good case for replacing your vehicle's serpentine belt when it's worn out. Your owner's manual will advise you when to replace your serpentine belt. Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Automobile Service Co can inspect the belt as well to determine if it's close to failure. You may have heard that it's a good idea to check for cracks in your belt to see if it's time for a new one. However, with the newer belts, belt thickness is a more reliable indicator of the status. At Automobile ... read more

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sepentine belt

Simple Answers From Automobile Service Co For St Louis Park: Air Conditioner

Simple Answers From Automobile Service Co For St Louis Park: Air Conditioner

Question:Why isn't my air conditioner blowing cold air? Automobile Service Co Answer: Your air conditioning system uses refrigerant to create cold air. The most common reasons St Louis Park drivers lose their cold air have to do with the refrigerant. The first is not enough refrigerant. Refrigerant is a gas in the system, and very small holes in a hose, seal or coupler can allow enough to leak out to prevent the creation of cold air. Another potential problem for St Louis Park auto owners is contamination. Over time the inside of the rubber hoses can deteriorate, and little bits of rubber can clog up various filters and other parts of the vehicle A/C system, preventing proper circulation of the refrigerant. And a component could also be worn or broken. So the first step for St Louis Park drivers who can't coo ... read more

The Automobile Service Co Guide to Buying a Used Vehicle

The Automobile Service Co Guide to Buying a Used Vehicle

Used vehicles are certainly an economical choice for budget-conscious St Louis Park drivers. But how can we know we're getting a good used vehicle and not just inheriting someone else's problems? There are good used vehicles for sale in the Minneapolis area. Cars are sold when families upsize, when families downsize or even when someone just wants a new car. So the used vehicle may be just fine. But some St Louis Park used car owners sell vehicles because they don't want to deal with developing or existing problems. When you're considering buying a used vehicle in St Louis Park, ask for service records. Check to see if the recommended schedules for preventive maintenance have been followed. If so, you probably have a great used vehicle on your h ... read more

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